Senator Mulroe addresses members of the press during the press conference.CHICAGO  – Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) will hold a press conference today to discuss legislation that has passed the Senate and seeks to address the growing noise from O’Hare International Airport since 2013. Collaborating with Mulroe is Congressman Mike Quigley, Representative John D’Amico as well as many other state lawmakers, Chicago aldermen, suburban mayors, Cook County commissioners and the FAiR Coalition.

“The noise levels are unbearable for people and we are working hard to address those concerns,” Mulroe said. “This legislation was drafted with the intention of seeking a compromise with the airport and the residents in communities bordering the airport. I want there to be a little less talk and a little more action.”

Passed on April 16 from the Senate by a staggering majority, Senate Bills 636 and 637 act as companion pieces to address the noise concerns. SB636 would raise the number of active runways O’Hare could have from eight to 10, while SB637 stipulates that the existing runways must all remain active and at full capacity.

Prior to 2013, reliance on the existing runways diverted air traffic not only east-west but also on a diagonal pattern northeast-northwest. Since that time, the parallel east-west runways have moved to 97 percent capacity, while the diagonal runway’s traffic has dwindled to 3 percent.

“We need a fairer distribution of arrivals and departures among O’Hare runways to ease the flood of aircraft noise inundating our neighborhoods,” Rep. Quigley said. “I appreciate Senator Mulroe’s leadership and partnership as we continue to pursue every avenue that reduces noise without compromising safety.”   

Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), while not present at the press conference, released the following written statement: “While I agree that a state-of-the-art and efficient O’Hare Airport is a key component to our area’s economy and transportation system, I firmly support expansion of noise and air pollution monitoring and greater public involvement in decision-making.”

In addition to the legislators, a family from Schiller Park, which borders O’Hare on the village’s northwest side, will testify to their experience with the noise levels prior to 2013 and since the opening of the most recent parallel runway.

Category: News Releases

Senator Mulroe and Andrew Lawson testify to the bill in the Insurance Committee.SPRINGFIELD –The Senate Insurance Committee heard testimony today from Andrew Lawson, a young man who suffers from mitochondrial disease. A new proposal would cover vitamins for sufferers of mitochondrial disease and is sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago).

“I lost my vision one day when I was in high school,” Lawson said. “I was changing classes and I went from one room to the next, and BOOM, it was gone, like that.”

Lawson is a sufferer of mitochondrial disease, which causes systemic failure because of non-functioning mitochondria. Mitochondria are organelles within the cells of the body that produce the vast majority of the energy humans need to consume to function. Mitochondrial disease occurs when mutated mitochondria in the body stop working. There is no cure.

As a result of his diagnosis, Lawson is on a constant stream of vitamins, as there is currently no medication that corrects this problem. Under current law, health insurance providers do not cover vitamins, and while many over-the-counter vitamins are available, they are not potent enough for his needs and often contain fillers that make absorption difficult.

“Andrew needs something more to truly live his life, because his cells aren’t doing what normal cells do,” Mulroe said. “Moving forward we ought to do everything we can to assist people like Andrew in achieving a better quality of life.”

The measure is currently being considered in the Senate.

Category: News Releases

Senator Mulroe speaks to the bill during debate.SPRINGFIELD – After months of discussions resulting in compromise to all sides, a measure sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) tightening up vaccination laws in relation to schools has passed. The Senator had the following to say upon the passage of the legislation:

“As a general rule, children should be immunized. The key to this legislation and the discussions that have surrounded it has been about balancing individual religious freedom with public safety. That has been goal number 1. Under this proposal, the two existing exemptions remain - the medical exemption because it is clear that not all children are capable of receiving these immunizations, and the religious exemption. For the latter, we simply wanted to ensure that for individuals seeking the religious exemption that they speak with their doctor and discuss the risks involved with not immunizing. We worked long and hard with hundreds of opponents to the original legislation, and I truly believe we reached an acceptable compromise.”

Under the amended measure, the schedule with which the doctor visits for immunization exemptions would remain consistent with the current schedule for physical examinations.

Following a vote of 42 to 14, the proposal now moves to the House.

Category: Showcase

Senator Mulroe discusses the importance of Hepatitis C screenings.SPRINGFIELD – For those born between the years of 1945 and 1965, doctors will be required to offer Hepatitis C screenings to patients under a new proposal from Senator John Mulroe (D-CHICAGO). The measure passed the Senate today.

“Hepatitis C is known as the silent killer because, most often, by the time a patient is diagnosed, the disease has already done widespread damage,” Mulroe said. “By requiring this screening, we are able to spare compounded illness and pain to those people who may have the disease but don’t know it.”

Patients born between 1945 and 1965, also known as baby boomers, are at the most risk for contracting Hepatitis C. Due to the long maturation period of the disease, symptoms, complications and an affirmative diagnosis are often not seen in people until they have been living with Hepatitis C for 20 years or longer.

Under the plan, if a patient in this age range asks for the test, doctors would be required to include it as part of the normal blood testing that occurs with routine physical exams. Doctor would also be obligated to ask patients in the at-risk age range if they would like such testing done.

While the baby boomer generation is most at-risk of having contracted Hepatitis C, within that group, individuals who may have had blood transfusions or healthcare and emergency workers who may have come into contact with accidental needle pricks are at a high risk of contraction. Illinois would become the second state to have legislation like this after New York, and the proposal would also mandate IDPH to develop a public health campaign to raise awareness about the disease.

“The human cost of a disease like Hepatitis C is immeasurable but if there is any way to reduce that then it is our duty to pursue those paths,” Mulroe said. “This legislation will save lives through screenings and sharing the knowledge of this disease. Hopefully through mandating these screenings we will be able to save these people and their families time, heartache and money.”

Senate Bill 661 passed by a 33 to 19 vote and will be now be heard by the House.

Category: Showcase

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